Grounded in the risk-management perspective of CSR research, this study establishes a link between product specificity and corporate social responsibility (CSR). We first develop the theoretical argument that product specificity is positively related to a firm’s socially responsible activities. We then explore the boundary conditions under which this relationship is influenced by external environmental conditions. With a longitudinal dataset of US public firms for the period of 2001–2010, we find that the positive relationship between product specificity and CSR are strengthened when the firm’s external environment is more uncertainty and less munificent; while the relationship weakens when the market becomes more competitive. Finally we discuss the implications of our findings for the CSR research.

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Keywords Corporate social responsibility, Product specificity, risk management
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Journal Academy of Management Proceedings
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Shen, R, Tang, Y, & Zhang, Y. (2015). The Price of Being Unique: How Product Specificity Affects Corporate Social Responsibility. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2015). doi:10.5465/ambpp.2014.13296abstract